August 29, 2017

A touching accolade.

This is Michael and earlier in the year I played at the wake for his wife, Esther. The event was at St Nicholas Church Hall in Saltdean with lots of people there to celebrate the life and memories of Esther. I’d not met Michael before and I was curious to know how he came to book me for the wake. I was very touched when he told me that Esther had seen me play somewhere a few years back and had kept my card on the windowsill, then later near the time of her passing had put in her wishes for the wake ‘to get the mobile piano player if you can’. I thought that was really lovely.

Posted by in senior groups and tagged as

April 28, 2017

Rewind South 2017 confirmed!

Pleased to announce that I’ll be playing at Rewind South Festival again this summer. You’ll be able to find me in the ‘Cocktail tent’ – though it’s really much more like a bar :-) . It’s a great festival and we had a lot of fun last year, so am looking forward to plenty more of the same. The festival runs from August 18th – 20th.

Posted by in festivals and tagged as

February 20, 2017

Rewind Festival 2016 – what a cracker!!

Question: Where can you sing ‘Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do’ with Wurzel Gummidge and friends whilst the cast of ‘An Officer and a Gentlemen’ look on?

Answer: Where else but the 80s Rewind Festival.

Last year I had the pleasure of being booked to play in the cocktail tent at Rewind Festival South in Henley on Thames. When I got the booking I was quietly excited, my experience of playing in pubs and clubs told me that an audience that enjoys the 80s also generally remembers a lot of the old pub tunes and the two sit easily side by side. Going from Madness to ‘Don’t Dilly Dally’ and on to Chas n Dave to my mind is quite seamless, as the music is linked by common ‘music hall’ roots.

Rewind - Bucks FizzCome the gig, I wasn’t disappointed, indeed it was even better than I had thought. The Rewind crowd really get into he spirit of things, with all manner of 80s fancy dress and attention to detail. The atmosphere is fun and friendly throughout and the cocktail tent was like a little rest and recuperation area away from the main stage and bars. I ebbed and flowed between pub piano classics and 80’s hits from the likes of Depeche Mode, Madness and Abba and even got a piano mosh pit going with ‘Night boat to Cairo’.

Rewind Vivian 1We had a fantastic time and I got some great feedback from people and so I’m hoping to be back again this year (plug, plug). If I am, then expect plenty more 80s medleys, some TV theme tunes (think Dad’s Army and Grange Hill) and of course all the old pub favourites.

Away from playing, a personal highlight at the festival was hearing Tony Hadley and his band/ orchestra do their sound check with ‘To Cut a Long Story Short’. That bloke can truly sing, such power and grace – well done that man!

And back in the cocktail tent? Well, whilst not quite on the same level, but still very successful at keeping the audience entertained, there was one tune that never failed to get them dancing. A timeless classic, and one that on this particular occasion below was enjoyed by visiting members of the Police Academy (which was very helpful, because I’d had pretty much lost my voice by then). See you next time hopefully.

Posted by in festivals, videos and tagged as

December 14, 2016

Care home & dementia work

I’m pleased to announce that I’m now working with a variety of care homes, senior groups and dementia organisations in Sussex and the South East, including the Blind Veterans Hospital; Barchester Homes; Dementia UK; The Shelley, Worthing and Smallbrooke, Horley, to name but a few.

 Seniors lunch group 1

My music hall style of performance and the songs I play (a blend of the old pub tunes mixed with pops hits from the 40s – 80s, along with some boogie, blues and ragtime) are going down a treat, and it’s a real pleasure, indeed even an honour, to play to audiences that have direct experience of a time when the piano was at the heart of most social gatherings. As ever with my performances sing a long is encouraged, though never forced, and I’ll even get people dancing if I can. But regardless of whether people want to sing, dance or just listen, the main aim is always the same, to put a smile on people’s faces.

IMG_0074

I have space for more bookings in this area, either locally or further afield, and so if you’re reading this and thinking this would go down well at somewhere you know, then please do get in touch, I’ll be happy to discuss what I do in more detail. I know budgets in this sector are often very tight and so I do my best to offer a range of prices that works for both parties.

‘Mark, an absolute pleasure to have met you .. thank you so very much .. we all loved your entertainment’ – Kingsland, Shoreham

‘Look forward to seeing you next time. The residents and I thoroughly enjoyed your performance last week’ – Francis Court, Copthorne

Posted by in senior groups and tagged as

December 13, 2016

Building a road to bring you a piano

Having a garage is essential for my work as it’s where I keep the piano and do all the engineering side of the business. This summer my family and I moved house and the new property thankfully has a bigger garage (I was beginning to run out of space with the previous one). However the downside is that access to it went from this lovely smooth bit of concrete (with generous assisting slope to help roll the piano in and out of the van)

Previous garage access

to this muddy track!

New garage access

New garage access

So in order to ensure easy, reliable (and not least clean!) access to the new garage, allowing me to come and go with the piano quickly and efficiently, I’ve decided to build a road (yes a road!) and demonstrate to you just how far I’ll go to bring you real piano. Here’s the progress so far, three weeks in.

Hammer manRoad build 1

Expected completion date is around June 2018, after which I’ll be tendering for some M4 widening work.

Visit the Facebook page for regular updates and occasional ones here.

Posted by in piano build and tagged as